Corey Inscoe

Guidelines

Blogs

All three sites are designed around the same concept: a community of bloggers with one or a small group of moderators. All members are given a blog when they join, whether they want to blog or not (at DailyKos these are called diaries, but are essentially the same thing). While the blog is mostly controlled by the writer, the site administrators have the power to take down material that they consider objectionable or offensive:

From OrangePolitics:

“As a site devoted to lifting up activists’ voices and increasing the engagement of Orange County residents in their own community, we agree to agree and to disagree – as strongly as need be – without crossing the boundaries into unacceptable content.

  • Everything published on OrangePolitics.org is content: Your posts, comments, poll responses, events, text, images, you name it. We embrace your diversity of opinions but we insist that your content may not include anything unacceptable.
  • While the administrators and moderators of this forum will attempt to remove or edit any generally objectionable material as quickly as possible, it is difficult to review every message. Therefore users acknowledge that all posts made on OrangePolitics.org express the views and opinions of the author and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people).
  • Unacceptable content: You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable regulations or laws. Doing so may lead to you being flagged as a troll and/or banned. The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions.”

Though the administrators hold this veto power, they try not to use it unless it is absolutely necessary, as noted in the “About” section of BlueNC:

“Entries that are found to be offensive may be eliminated by front-pagers as well. While we do our best to block spam, we do not block individuals from posting and commenting unless they are intolerably obnoxious.”

Orange Politics and BlueNC have fairly loose guidelines since they have much smaller communities. They can deal with each post individually if necessary and deal with anyone breaking the rules quickly and efficiently. DailyKos, on the other hand, is a national site and has thousands of people posting on their diaries. It is harder for the administrators to moderate the posts so their rules are much more stringent. Here are some examples of the 26 rules for posting a diary:

  1. All users are limited by the system to one diary per calendar day.
  2. New users cannot post diaries for one week after an account has been created.
  3. Diaries should be substantive. A good guideline is that if you don’t have at least three solid paragraphs to write about your subject, you should probably post a comment in an open thread, or in a recent diary or front-page post that covers a topic relevant to what you wish to write about.
  4. Duplicative diaries are prohibited. Please scan the recent diaries and front-page posts before starting to compose your own diary. This rule operates on a sliding scale. A repeat diary with minimal analysis or originality (particularly on “breaking news” items) is prohibited. Such diaries are subject to deletion without notice. But if you write on a recently-covered subject and provide original analysis or research, that is acceptable and in fact welcome.
  5. Diaries which engage in wild speculation without any proof are strongly discouraged. Repeatedly posting diaries consisting largely or entirely of wild speculation is an abuse of site policy. Bear in mind that that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
  6. Diaries which contain hateful or defamatory writing are prohibited.

The guidelines even go on as far as to limit “conspiracy theories” and govern what people can write about 9/11: “It is forbidden to write diaries that:1. refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks. 2. refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse.”

The tight-knit communities don’t have to put such stringent rules on the posting because the users seem to govern themselves for the most part. There is a set of behaviors that are deemed “acceptable” and to gain any credibility in these blogs you have to follow these rules. But there is no way to have this self-governing community when you have thousands of users, so that is why there are such extensive and detailed rules.

Comments
Similar restrictions are put on the users for much of the same reason. The administrators want the comments to be relevant, interesting and bring something new to the conversation. Because of this, Kos has an entire section of his FAQ dealing with “First Comments.”

“On many sites, such as Atrios, it is a tradition for the first commenter on a new thread to post a message of ‘First’ or similar. That tradition is not followed on dkos. Posting a ‘First’ message here is likely to get your comment hidden (see Rating Comments below) and/or yelled at.”

All of these sites focus around the idea of promoting discussion about important progressive issues and they are not receptive to anything that inhibits that discussion.

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